Kayleigh's businesses have soul

Published:04 July 2019

CQUniversity third-year Bachelor of Nursing student Kayleigh Brewster is assisting those in need through her not-for-profit business Australian Street Aid Project.

CQUniversity Bachelor of Nursing student Kayleigh Brewster is providing those in need with hygiene packs, courtesy of her not-for-profit business Australian Street Aid Project (ASAP).

Ms Brewster's inspiration behind her business idea was sparked at Christmas time in 2018 when she experienced an overwhelming urge to do something nice for people who were struggling financially.

"I collected items and would drop them off to the Salvation Army Christmas lunch. I wanted to raise my son in the same way that I was raised - to give what you can afford to give, to those less fortunate than you," she said.

"The hygiene packs usually include a bag filled with a hat, water bottle, soap, deodorant, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush, basic first aid supplies, shavers and cotton buds, socks, camping pillow, torch and insect repellent.

"The packs are given out directly, where possible, but I also give them to Anglicare, Oz Care and other organisations who are in direct contact with the homeless."

Last year, Ms Brewster realised that in order to continue to make a difference, she needed to raise some much-needed funds.

"Each pack costs around $25 to $30, and so it became too expensive to continue if I didn’t have an income specifically for that purpose," she said.

"I set up a profitable business - Sass & Soul - that specialises in homemade jewellery and other retail products. I donate 50 per cent of my profits to ASAP, which covers the costs associated with the purchase and delivery of hygiene pack supplies.

"Sass & Soul allows me to express my creative side which keeps me sane, while ASAP allows me to follow my passion in life of helping others."

Ms Brewster said her long-term vision for ASAP was for it to be established nationwide and be recognised as a leading support service for homeless Australians.

"Firstly, I will focus on the Mackay region before expanding to include all other regional Queensland areas, followed by Brisbane, Gold Coast, and other Metropolitan areas," she said.

"Homelessness is such a prevalent issue here, in one of the world’s richest countries, and I want to tackle the stigma attached to people who are experiencing it."

The aspiring Nurse recently attended the Mackay Homelessness Expo, where she was inspired to continue her great work.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to get directly in front of the people who most need support," she said.

"Because we don’t see homelessness here in Mackay as much as we do in big cities, people often think it’s not an issue in Mackay. But it is a prevalent, growing issue.

"Housing affordability, lack of family and social support, financial struggles, and mental illness are some of the main reasons people experience homelessness. I met a lot of people and heard a lot of stories which inspired me, even more, to keep doing the work I am doing."

After completing her nursing degree later this year, Ms Brewster said she would like to embark on a post-graduate program.

"Nursing is my passion and allows me to make small differences in people's lives on a day to day basis. I will still be growing and developing ASAP and hope to eventually be able to hire staff to assist," she said.

For anyone wanting to support Ms Brewster's work, Sass & Soul items can be purchased online via Facebook or at local Mackay markets.